magical thinking...

We all do it, Some more than others. Some stay and live there, forever. Not childish thinking, which at times may be confused with MT but is really the way our brains grow and learn. Magical thinking says if I think it, it will happen or go away. Perhaps a nice way of saying, you live in denial. Never a Place to linger, but somewhere we have all gone, at one time or another. The part of the brain that allows us to believe in Santa, way after we are old enough to have bumped into the terrible truth. Yesterday, there was no magical thinking to be found, anywhere. Not even a little bit.

Headed to Costco...but needed to make a stop at this little gift shop on the way. Cute little wreaths, and wall decals and other things. Thought I would just pop in and see what they had for Christmas. As I pulled up to the front door, something looked odd. There was a man, followed by a woman, carryin gboxes to their truck. It was soon very obvious that the buliding was empty and that they weren't even waiting until after Christmas, to shut their doors. I backed out of my parking space, wondering how long they held on before there was no choice left.

Still heading toward Costco, I stopped at Target to look around. Ran into a friend who got sent home from work before noon, because there was no work. We visited a little and she explained how her husband got a stable job but had to take a huge cut in pay. I walked away, feeling her pain.

Costco is now in site. I do my business and head home. When I pull onto my street, I notice the cleaning truck at the renter's house across the street from mine. Even in less than desirable weather, these guys had constant yard sales. Every couple of weeks, right as rain. I always thought, they had to do it to make rent. The empty house reinforces that belief.

Hard to come home and sing, Deck The Halls, knowing that for some, it is going to be tough. There was no magical thinking that would make any of these situations, less complicated but it certainly made me stop and think. Life in the Real world is not fun, but is there any other way to live?


Didn't plan to take family photos at Walmart today, it just happened. I literally almost ran into her. Who does that?

People think we look a lot alike and we do. When we are both the same weight, even more so but she had a pituitary tumor many years ago and try as she may, losing weight goes against everything her body is capable of doing.

We are nothing alike. Not now, not ever. Even in high school, I LOVED Motown, she hearted Donovan (They call me Mellow Yellow, quite righteously). We even had a somekind of stripe down the middle of our shared bedroom, neither was to cross over into enemy territory, no matter what.

What we do share is a history of the past. You might think that we would have shared memories but our remembrances are as far apart as our interest. What we remember is also different. We both have large gaps where memories are missing and that is fine with us. It was a childhood we would agree, no one should go through. We have seen and experienced things that have affected us our entire lives and always will. We are quirky and best, more like a bit odd, if we are being honest. Mostly, we are survivors. Once told that most people who experience a childhood like ours, do not survive.

Here is living proof. Right here at Walmart. We have defied the odds and are still standing. One thing we would agree on, only by the grace of God have we come so far. Different as we may be, sisters, we will always be...


It is my favorite meal to eat out.

I would never eat these foods at a resturant for breakfast but find them highly suitable, if not perfect, for breakfast at home.

chocolate cake,
mixed nuts,

The one common food(?) that is most desired with or without food for breakfast is Diet Coke. There is no hour too early or late for Diet Coke. If you are a smart person, you will catch on quickly that Someone has a huge problem, but I digress...

I have never treated Breakfast with the respect it deserves. It is a well known fact, eat anything you want for breakfast and you are assured to burn off said calories by the end of the day. I have had some strange food and portions using that little bit of knowledge. I once shared a whole cake with a friend at work... Later, we would both join Weight Watchers because it was obvious, there was a huge problem. The tip off, us and two forks.

Whether biscuits and gravy at CrackerBarrel or the Special at the locl diner, there is just Something about breakfast that whispers in your ear, It is going to be alright.

When you walk into a place like this, that has put this much effort into decorating, you can only hope they put the same effort into the pancakes. And, they did...

shadow and light...

What profits a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his soul?

The first segment of 60 Minutes dealt with the homeless, in particular, kids. Living in cars, little food to share. These folks are not career homeless. They are casualties of loss they never saw coming. Jobs lost, unemployment that ran dry As I watched and felt my heart breaking, the news was reporting record Black Friday sales. The idea of starting earlier, opening doors before the Thanksgiving table was cleared was being hailed a hero before the weekend cash registers had all been counted.

Life has always been unfair. There has always been those who have much and those who have nothing. Salvation Army has been ringing their bells as long as I can remember yet the Stories of the homeless, never seem to slow down. As a society, we are rather immune and harden by those who have abused our desire to do good works.Just today, we passed no less than 10 homeless peole with cardboard signs. It has just been this year that I heard a one of the locals who has chosen this as his profession. Cities are advising that we give money to a local homeless shelter that can distribute them as the panhandling seems to have gotten out of control.

I don't know the answer for me, much less for you. Around here they say the food banks are empty and with over 100 percent increase from last year. Those who donated last year, are in need themselves this year. Maybe it comes down to what comes your way on any given day. When you see a need with your eyes, do something. The woman in front of you at the store doesn't have enough money to but everything she has in her cart. Buying someone a tank of gas. Playing secret santa for a neighbor with a Walmart gift card. You might know someone. Your kids might know someone. Just need to keep our eyes and ears open and the floodgates of possibilities will open none of us are not able to do something don't wait until you can give big. Give big now and don't define big to yourself as when I win the lottery, big.

Think outside of the box, refine big to yourself or get rid of it all together. Just make a difference in Someone's life. Big comes from our hearts, not our wallets...

Now, it begins...

The last four days have been a blur.We lamented on Thanksgiving how crazy it was that we could eat outside at the picnic table. Cold but doable. After many games of movie/book/tv charades, we called it a least for a few hours.

The news has reported that the early onset of Black friday was a hit for both shoppers and retailers and is here to stay. The young ones, who don't usually partake of BF came at 10PM and the rest made their usual 4PM appearance. Looks like change is here to stay...Now, it begins.

Like it or not, it is on. 25 days of shopping for Something. Gifts, decorations, food. Your life is not your own for the next 31 days. You are officially in Holiday mode.

It is a fact. One that if you can get it into your head, will make this the best holiday season ever. Over the last few years, I have cut my gift list down to just my kids and grandkids. I love my friends dearly but would rather spend time over holiday coffee and some good convo, then add to the the Stuff of Their World.

For me, the lines are not so blurred between Santa and Jesus, this year. It is getting harder and harder to find Jesus in the world while He hasn't changed a bit. He is always there for the asking. This year for the first time in a long, long time, the kids have a Christmas program at their church. I am giddy. Nothing like a little kid singing, dressed to their nine, the Love of Christmas. Reminds me, must relive the magic that is All About The Herdsman. The epic Story of the world meeting Jesus. When you are hungry and the church is giving away free food, you go. I so get that. If you have never read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, I suggest you do yourself a favor and read it this year. As Gage would say, it would be an Epic Failure, not too.

Got 2 things off my list on BF but mainly got to shop with throngs of people who for the most part were extremely nice. The teen boys who parked their fannies on the couches to rest and then peed in the huge fake flower pots, not so much...

It is close. I can feel my fifties, slipping away. I don't know why this birthday has hit me so hard but am attempting to go through it, not find a way around it.

There is so much to be thankful for. Some people never make it, this far. I have been blessed with family and friends, with love and laughter and there is no reason to think, that will change. On the threshold of another adventure. Old is as old does, relax and keep swinging.

A friend gave me this sign for my birthday and a higher tribute could not be given, Thank you Miss R.

she was authentic in every way and they loved that about her.

Plan to live the Moment and enjoy all the Moments that will continue to come my way. How could one not be thankful? While my body gives away its true age, inside, there is a different Party going on. Now I know why you see so many old people in convertibles. It is so true.

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you. May the giving of thanks, laughter and love, come your way this year. If sadness is your lot this year, may Something bring joy to your heart, Somewhere along the way. See you Monday. Love and peace, zalaine.

those around us...

Being an introvert is not a badge of honor. Those of us who are a part of this club, know we have to work twice as hard as the extrovert - just so people don't think we are mad at them. It is part of one's personality that while can't be change, can be controlled.

This time of year, we find ourselves in situations and Places where there are many, many people. Strangely enough, I LOVE being in public with them. Don't have to think of Something to say, like at a party but can strike up a convo in a rather, safe to me, enviroment.

Ran into a long time, seldom see friend today. We tend to run into each other at Walmart on a semi-regular basis. We have history so the talk is easy and always fun. We got a bit deeper today, and I couldn't help myself -I hugged her, Big Time. Not a casual hugger but when I do, I hug Big. She shared a bit of her life that just overwhelmed me and I was so proud of her I wanted to burst. Last time we met, we dicussed 60th birthdays. I want a quiet one and she wants to invite everyone she knows. I can't wait for April!

Thanksgiving are on their way and my excitement level couldn't be higher. Always need to check if my introvertness is getting in the way of What Could Be. At least I know, that to recharge - we of that particular persuasion, need to back off for alone time. I can do that, just like my iPad, then hit the road again.

Random Citizens, can wait to see you this week! Rested and ready to go. Bring it 2011, I am ready. Will try to keep hugging to a mininum, I promise...

From my vantage point, the Light was so coming across his path. Almost 99% sure, he didn't notice and if he did, it was in the form of being irritated.

He was totally unaware of his surroundings, including me. He got up a few times and made a few rounds all over the coffee shop. Don't know if he needed to be around people or what his deal was. He was very intent the whole time he was there, no smiles.

I am no different than him. I imagine that I miss the Light many, many times. Obviously, we each think we know when we are being shined on but I would bet, the rest of the time we miss it by at least, 50%.

Finally, my favorite week is here. Short work week and BIG in Real Life. After a month of living in the thankfulness that only November can bring, I hope it hangs around for the next month. December brings enough issues of its own, would be nice to have some November left, to offset it.

They are right...There is Always Something to be thankful for. I don't have to dig deep, not very deep at all but others do. If you are one, do the work. Get out of your head. I have been where you are and I can tell you, it can be better. Maybe not this Thanksgiving, or Christmas or even today but if you seek it, you will find it. Happy Hunting...

drinking the Kool-Aid...

Drinking the Kool-Aid,
To become a firm believer in something; to accept an argument or philosophy whole-heartedly.

Older folks will remember this from Jonestown and the terrible loss of life. These days, it seems to refer to anything that you totally believe in. My personal Kool-Aid, is pretty apparent.

Reading one of my favorite authors, Sarah Vowell now and her upbringing and religious history are just the opposite of mine. She was raised in a gospel-beliving home and later, became an atheist and I did the atheist thing first, later on - found Jesus.

It reminded me in my higher thinking class on Sunday, that growing up, there was no doubt in my mind that my father was right. All had been proved and I was good to go for the rest of my life. When Jesus came in with this less that believable Story, proof was the essense of what I needed to even begin to change my thinking.

After all these years, the whole Story of Jesus has not been proved to me. Not once Story, but it has been validated in a million ways. One of the christian arguments is always, well, you don't know how a car works but you trust every morning when you get in, it starts immediately. That particular Kool-Aid never spoke to me and in my quest for proof, didn't get me very far down the road.

So, one Kool-Aid was proven to me and the other was found valid yet I chose the one that makes little sense, can't be proven and gets you no reward card when you sign up? Call it what you want but for me, it makes all the sense in the world...

at the end of the day...

When all the drama of the day has hopefully, been moved to a Another Place and Time, what is Real, seems to be easier to spot.

With the what if's and thanks for dodging another bullet, the Realness of life comes and everything looks a little less harsh with the light of day, behind you.

We each have different ways of unwinding and processing any given day's events. Most days, I make the transistion at a pretty quick pace but not always. Some days, I don't get there at all. Those are the sleepless nights orwhere sleep is not to be had except in few minute increments. I understand it intellectually but emotionally, I am stuck at a two year old level.

When perspective starts to make it's way back to my mind, I think about how little I really need to feel good about the day. A Story from my girl about something the kids did, hubby making me laugh. I have said it before, the hum of the dryer and dishwasher put me in the best of moods.

The sooner that Real comes into my world, the better person I am and that is worth it all. Every bit of it...


If I were to believe this sign, it would make incredible sense to do all my Christmas shopping here. In this town, in this store. They must have done all the leg work, compared all the costs so, this must be it. This is the place to come, this is the place to save.

Only problem is, this is a grocery store and while their prices are very good - if saving were my goal, most everyone on my Christmas shopping list would be sorely disappointed.

Had an encounter with an couple of extreme couponers the other day. Disclaimer - if you are an extreme couponer, and I mean extreme not just a casual or dedicated cutter of coupons but one of those who has $30,000 of inventory in the basement and spends 40 hours a week with pre shopping trips to scout for more, there maybe unresolved issues in your life that need attention.

I needed a tube of toothpaste. Just one. I hadn't noticed what was in their carts but as I looked at the toothpaste shelf and noticed my brand and a few other were all gone, I said Something out loud about, where did all the toothpaste go? I turned to look in these ladies carts and between them both, found out where all the toothpaste had gone. They sheeply put a few back, I grabbed my one and left.

It is good to save, guys. It is a responsible, good thing to make your money go as far as it can go. Most of us will hit more than a few stores in the next month and be looking to save, to grab a few deals to make a few smiles. Saving, like most everything in life can go too far. Over the edge and out the emotional door like a railroad car, out of control. Is is worth it to wrestle a sweater from another shopper over the saving of a few bucks? There was a time when, I thought it was. No more...

holding hands...

Remember Robert Fulgrum's, Everything I Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarden?

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.

They were wise words for Kindergarden and for those who have been together for many years. Somethings, never change...

right now...

November is in full swing and my personal thanksgiving is in the very forethought of most every thought, running through my mind. It is easy to focus on what is not right/sane/fair and much tougher to keep one's eye on the prize, right in front of you. To be thankful for what you already have. What you are enjoying, this very Moment.

Next week is my favorite week of the year. It is a short week, full of anticipation of turkey and the start of the Christmas season. It usually includes at some point, my birthday and anniversary. It is a packed week with lots of wonderful emotions. I just love it!. See how easy it is to be Somewhere else?

This week I will focus on what I already have, what is right in front of my today. Will spend the afternoon taking my girl to a birthday party and then, getting to hear all about it on the way home. DH and I will get to spend the day together. God willing, I will have a warm home to come back too. Food in the refrigerator, a blanket and furry slippers, just waiting to be cuddled.

I am thankful I can see this now. I hope I can see it everyday this week. And then, next week too. Humbly aware that I am missing more than I am seeing but will have to live with the understanding that being human means accepting ourselves, flaws and all. I am thankful for the idea that I can get another chance everyday, to live it to the fullest and never are we more aware than when I am thankful...

generation gap..

Most everything but not all I read is all done on my iPad. Still get a paper copy of Time from a two year old subscription but will let that die a natural death. This week's issue was enlighten and along with my favorite book right now, a great find. Here are the generations defined.

The Millennial Generation - 18-30
Generation X - 31 -46
Boomers - 47-65
The Silent Gereration - 66-83

Have wanted to be a Boomer for as long as I can remember. I remember the 50 and 60's well and we seemed so cool. Rock and roll, Woodstock - what was not to Love?

These days, I find myself identifying more with the Millennial crowd. Techonlogy has me on the edge of my seat, almost minutely. I don't want to miss a minute of it. I am stunned and thrilled with Something I read about, most every day.

But Sometimes, you are drawn back. My new favorite book these days, didn't have an ereader version so I had to buy the hardcover but it was so worth it.

Goodnight iPad by Ann Droyd. (if it sounds familiar ib is because Ms Droyd also wrote, Goodnight Moon.)

...And a Blackberry ringing with Eminem singing. And a new Facebook friend and texts with no end...

Sometimes, kicking it Old School is way worth it...

Family time for the rest of the week. Back on Sunday, live the Moment...

beautiful day...

Every once in a while, I get smacked in the head and for a brief Moment, I truly get it. Understand that it takes more than a gentle tap, most days.

We spent the morning, playing checkers and enjoying each other's company. Add in drinks and treats and you quickly see how little it takes to find yourself in a good place.

It is not what we think we need or what we think it is important to know, in any given day - to give us what we really need. We need to pay attention more and shut up/stop thinking, more. Instead of sharing what we know, we need to be students twice as much as we are teachers.

We are each given to be in both camps in Life. Students and teachers and when we mix them up at the wrong times, like most other things we mix up at the wrong times - it is disasterous because we make choices based on those errors of judegement. It is like being a perpetual teenager, always having answers without having ever heard the question.

I grabbed my camera because I needed this perspective. Knew instantly, it was part of my training and I didn't want to miss this lesson. Boys and men, while they are still somewhat of a mystery - they certainly made it a beautiful day for me.

nobody rides for free...

There is a cost, other than Burger Den, associated with trying to get family photos. It took me a while to hear him, because I was not listening.

No error on his part, I was just not hearing him. It is true what they say, nobody rides for free. Like it or not, we live this truth everyday in many ways. There is Compromise, which can be a bitter pill to swallow. The truth is compromise is a win-win for everyone but it is never acknowledged as such because everyone is busy, licking their collective wounds. With the upcoming holidays, Miss Compromise is as busy as she can be.

Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours,
is another long and winding road. Gage was fully aware without knowing it. Nana, on the other hand, had forgotten - hence the Madonna, Strike A Pose session, began. Could have been easier if I had caught on sooner. Some days, it just takes a child and a bit of time, to get it right.

proof vs validate...


An effort, process, or operation designed to establish or discover a fact or truth.  
The degree of evidence which convinces the mind of any truth or fact, and produces belief.
The quality or state of having been proved or tried.


Well grounded or justifiable, pertinent.
Acceptable, proper or correct.
An argument whose conclusion is always true whenever its premises are true.

At first glance, they seem quite similiar. Subtle differences but in essence, a similiar message. Not sure I would have ever saw that if I hadn't been in over my head in the new class. Been living with being overwhelmed this week and must admit, it is growing on me. For one who always, always would choose to know the Plan in advance, the not knowing and even the gasping for emotional awareness, has not been as hard as one may imagine.

Not one to need proof from God. Maybe because I had an experience with Him once and we settled it right there and then. He was willing to stay as long as it took but Sometimes I am a fast learner and I need no more. Maybe I am in the minority as I usually am, but I am not a why me? person. When you start your life in the worst possible way, there is little you don't expect to go right. I may be a good whiner but never at God. There is a difference. I have said many times, the first 20 years were pure hell, the next chapter made up for it but even I know, it can't go on forever. When all hell breaks loose, I'll be ready. I can't be ready now but he will give me what I need, when I need it. Is that proof or validation? All I know is that we each need to do what we need to do and we need to do it with our hearts wide open. Not much to ask in the scheme of things...


Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear." - Mark Twain

It occurred to me yesterday that some of us...ok, me - may have a worst case scenario switch. With a bit more thought, it also occurred to me that this switch has to be manually reset, every day.

It can't be set as a default without some pretty intense computer programming knowledge which frankly, we...ok, me - don't have. We get up every morning and purposefully, turn on the switch. That allows the thoughts and feelings to take over and run the show.

There is a fine line between being Real and being in denial. I walk on the Real side, a bit too often. Even before I brush my teeth and eat breakfast, I make sure the Switch is On. It is an unconscious act that triggers real acts. Emotions that play on those thoughts.

Something for us...ok, me to think about. The bible mentions fear 365 times. One for every day of the year. Don't think that is an accident. Time to turn the lights off, close the door and do Something new...


We all — in the end — die in medias res. In the middle of a story. Of many stories. Mona Simpson.

Mona has touched on something to ponder. At the passing of almost everyone in our life's sphere, they died too soon. We apply a sort of seniority list. If a baby dies, we are all heart broken at what could have been. A teen, just starting an adult life. A young dad who leaves little children behind. A woman whose greatest wish in life was to live to see her first grandchild. The couple looking forward to their golden anniversary.

If we understand that no matter what age we are when we pass, we are in the middle of a Story - it seems a bit more tolerable. Some, we to get to read more Chapters than others but never are all tied up in a neat little package, ready for delivery. The final chapter is written, anytime.

A wonderful epilogue of her famous brother's life, Mona Simpson and Steve Jobs found each other, later in life but it would appear, they had plenty of opportunity to make up for lost time.

Steve Job's last words are sticking to me like white on rice, can't get them out of my mind. This complicated man's last words, have me on the edge of my seat.

Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times.

Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them.

Steve’s final words were: